Hot Sauce and the Inherent Separation of Humanity

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A couple days ago, 21 Christians were beheaded in Libya. Pile that on top of Isis burning human beings alive. And killing innocents at a newspaper in Paris. And other terrorist organizations slaughtering entire villages on the African continent.

I simply cannot fathom how human beings can end the lives of other human beings in a well thought out, systematic manner. I mean, in a war, there are strongholds to protect and there is always the fury of battle. But this? I can’t see a mass beheading as anything other than murder. How can people do this? Simple: there is no recognition of humanity in another.

Unemployed man looking in mirror and seeing the futureThe cornerstone of caregiving is simple human presence, that’s what the I’m Here Movement has been teaching for years. Yet, it goes deeper than that. When a human being is present for another human being during a time of suffering, there is connection. Pure, authentic, human connection. There is the ability to see oneself in the face of another’s suffering. We are all human and this human experience binds us together. How then can innocent people be murdered in cold blood? Simply because the killers do not see themselves in their victims. They don’t recognize the humanity of others.

Bring this a bit closer to home. Headline in the local paper is about a nurse losing her license because she put hot sauce in the mouths of sleeping Alzheimer’s patients. Yeah, seriously. Legal charges are still pending, but there’s no way that this is not elder abuse. Abuse…from a nurse. From the most trusted professionals in America.

How could this nurse think it’s funny or a just punishment to torture other human beings, late in life, with dementia? Again, this nurse has failed to see herself in those she abused. She did not recognize them as fellow human beings.

It’s not just with terrorists. It happens right here…we need to do a lot, lot more work on seeing the humanity in everyone, not just those we hold dear and would never harm.

Senior and young holding handsFriends, I hope this story will give you pause. When you feel separated by anger, jealousy, disgust, sadness, shame or any of the other emotions that keep us apart, I hope you’ll stop. Think of the person for whom you have such harsh feelings. I think the more we see humanity in those we don’t care for, the more it opens us up to receive humane treatment from others.

Try to imagine their humanity…and that they, too, struggle with all those emotions that keep us separate from one another.

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